Sam Altman might have been kicked out for planning to bring down Nvidia, as he had been visiting the Middle East in order to acquire money for the project, which went by the secret name Tigris.
According to those familiar with the situation, Sam Altman was aggressively trying to raise billions from some of the biggest investors in the world for a new chip business in the weeks before his sudden dismissal from OpenAI.
According to the persons, Altman had been visiting the Middle East in order to acquire money for the project, which went by the secret name Tigris. The CEO of OpenAI intended to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chip startup that would be able to compete with Nvidia Corp., the market leader in AI tasks at the moment, by producing semiconductors. The persons, who wished to remain anonymous since the conversations were private, stated that Altman’s chip business has not yet been established and that talks with investors are still in the early stages.
Along with working with former Apple Inc. design leader Jony Ive, Altman has also been trying to secure money for a hardware project with an AI focus. As he sought tens of billions of funds for these new enterprises, Altman reportedly had discussions about these initiatives with Mubadala Investment Company, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, SoftBank Group Corp., and others.
Numerous specifics regarding the scope and nature of Altman’s chip goals, along with the codename of the project, have not been made public before.
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A crucial turning point for the AI startup coincided with Altman’s financing efforts. Under the direction of Thrive Capital, OpenAI has been attempting to complete a tender offer that would allow staff members to sell their shares for a $86 billion valuation. Someone indicated that SoftBank and other parties had wanted to be included in this agreement, but they were placed on a waitlist for a deal of a similar nature at a later time. According to two people, Altman asked investors to take a look at his new projects in the interim.
An inquiry for comment was not immediately answered by a PIF official for Saudi Arabia. SoftBank, Mubadala, and OpenAI all declined to comment.
A Business Insider report also states that companies on LinkedIn are willing to pay up to Rs 1.5 crore as a salary to individuals with ChatGPT expertise.
Altman was fired, according to OpenAI on Friday, following an internal investigation that revealed “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board.” A person familiar with the situation said that the board and Altman disagreed on the safety of AI, the rate at which the technology was developing, and the company’s commercialization. An already tense relationship with the board became more complicated due to Altman’s aspirations and side projects.
“We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices,” stated Brad Lightcap, chief operating officer of OpenAI, in a note to staff. This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”
Investor pressure is currently mounting on OpenAI’s board to reinstall Altman; a resignation by the board is one option. But even if Altman comes back, he might still need the board of OpenAI’s approval to manage his side projects.
In his pitch, Altman discussed a firm that would produce semiconductors called Tensor Processing Units, or TPUs, which are made to manage heavy workloads in specialized artificial intelligence. The objective is to help OpenAI by reducing the continuing expenses of operating its own services, such as ChatGPT and Dall-E, and to offer cheaper competition to market leader Nvidia, according to people familiar with the matter.
Though the creation process is lengthy and intricate, custom-designed processors like TPUs are said to have the ability to surpass Nvidia’s AI accelerators, which artificial intelligence businesses highly value.
Several well-known venture capital firms, some of whom are also OpenAI investors, are prepared to support Altman in any new initiative, according to several with knowledge of the matter. According to people knowledgeable, Altman’s chips initiative is also being considered for support by Microsoft Corp., which is OpenAI’s largest investor. Microsoft opted not to respond.
Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla stated that his company wanted Altman “back at OpenAI but will back him in whatever he does next” in a message on X, formerly Twitter.